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15 Free (or Really Cheap) Kids Activities in Toronto This Winter

Published Jan 10, 2019 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Whether you are a local or a tourist Toronto, and the surrounding area, is the perfect place for families of all shapes and sizes to explore! Don’t let all the men in business suits fool you. If you know the right places (like we do!) the city can be both fun and free.

#1. Sensational Skating

One thing we love most about winters in Toronto is the endless opportunities to go skating! Some of our personal favourite places to hit up include the public skating at Evergreen Brick Works and CF Shops at Don Mills’. Just remember to check the weather conditions ahead of time!

#2. Walk it Out

Many people are unaware that there are tons of free and fabulous walking tours offered throughout the city. One that we highly recommend is Park Canada Guided Outings and Events. This year join them at Rouge Park for a family-friendly adventure. Kids will love hitting the trails and seeing the local wildlife. As always we suggest dressing for the weather and bringing plenty of water and snacks!

#3. Ontario Science Museum

A little birdy told us that the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada occasionally puts on free events at the Solar Observatory. This is the perfect chance for you and your kids to see the sky through a powerful telescope and learn interesting facts.

Photography By: City News

#4. Cinema Saturdays

Did you know that every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. you can watch a family favourite film for only $2.99 at Cineplex? We think this is a perfect (and cheap) way of entertaining your kids on a cold winter day.  

#5. Go Tobogganing

One of the most fun ways to get an adrenaline rush on the cheap is to head to a snowy hill for an afternoon of tobogganing! There's plenty of good places, some good ones we've tried:

  • Trinity Bellwoods Park
  • Cedarvale Park
  • Centennial Park (Etobicoke)
  • Christie Pitts Park

#6. Quebecois Favourites

You don’t have to live in Quebec to feel like a real French Canadian. This March break, from the 9th-10th, Canada’s Sugar Beach is becoming a real Quebec-styled market complete with maple taffy on snow, live musical performances, artists and food trucks! Not the mention there are ice carving and maple syrup cooking demonstrations scheduled from both days of the event. Also, admission is totally free!

Photography By: Flickr

#7. Public Library

With one in every community this is the perfect afternoon indoor activity to do with you kids. Let them pick out a new bedtime story at the largest public library system in Canada! Hint: in the meantime indulge yourself with some free magazines.

#8. Enjoy Music at the Winterfold Music Festival

From February 22nd to 24th there will be sweet sounds on the Danforth. The blues, folk, and roots festival has over 150 artists and a mixture of free and paid events. Even if you do splurge for some tickets they are fairly cheap, a whole weekend pass is only $15 if you get them by January 31st. Info here.

#9. Visit a New Recreation Centre for Free

The city has committed to increasing access to recreation with free drop-in programs at more than 50 rec centres in the GTA. Go for a swim at one of these free centres. One of our favourites is Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre for it's water slide and tarzan rope!

#10. Distillery District

The Distillery District is a perfect year round pit stop for the entire family. Although the area is definitely geared toward the older demographic it is only a short walk from downtown and is always full of life. The district features over 70 cultural and retail establishments in rad, restored red brick buildings. This area is one of Canada’s hottest tourist attractions for a reason!

#11. Go to an Indoor Garden

An escape from winter! There are 3 free indoor gardens you can explore including Centennial Park Conservatory, Allan Gardens Conservatory, and Cloud Garden. Check out the tropical plants and feel some warmth!

#12. St. Lawrence Market

Everyone needs to eat. With that being said why not visit the freshest Farmer’s Market in town? With over 120 vendors, merchants and artisans the indoor St. Lawrence Market is the perfect place to grab a healthy lunch and people watch.

Photography By: Park Bench 

#13. Celebrate IceFest

Head to Bloor-Yorkville for IceFest where they will be transforming the district into a showcase of incredible ice sculptures and live ice carving demonstrations for the entire family to enjoy. For 2019 it will be on Saturday February 9th and is free to attend!

#14. Artsy-Fartsy

One cultural staple in Toronto is the Art Gallery of Ontario, known as the AGO. Families will be able to experience this spectacular site for free every Wednesday evening from 6-9 pm It can get busy, so arrive right at 6pm to avoid waiting in a long line.

#15. High Park

Arguably the best public park in all of Toronto, High Park is a must feature on our list! Complete with hiking trails, sports facilities, access to the lakefront, dog park, playground and even a zoo what more could your family ask for! The park gets especially beautiful to visit in the Spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom. Yes, Spring is around the corner! 

Photography By: Toronto Public Library

Carly Paracholski
By Carly Paracholski
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